2014 Hot 20: Tony Fadell, the Gadgeteer


CEO and founder of Nest Labs / age 45

Tony Fadell was born a tinkerer. He had gadgets and gizmos aplenty, and his love of tools inspired him to rework a collection of nuts, bolts, and wires into birdhouses. By the time Fadell was 32, he was designing and building the world’s first iPod. He worked alongside Steve Jobs as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division until departing in 2008. And he hasn’t stopped tinkering. His latest stint: pioneering to make homes even sweeter with Nest Labs, whose vision is to create an intuitive, conscious living space by remaking home appliances, such as the humble thermostat, into something more beautiful and more intelligent. Sure, a thermostat—though it is now a digital, energy-conserving, and Wi-Fi–enabled orb—is a curious start for a company, but just this January, Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion. Fadell gets it. He gets why consumers might take months searching for that perfect space or that perfect fixture. Because, ultimately, where we live is an intimate reflection of ourselves. And with Nest, he’s saying, Welcome home. 

Each October, we’re presented with the biggest quandary of the year: Narrowing down the Bay Area’s abundance of stellar luminaries to an exclusive selection of trailblazers for our annual Hot 20 list. After weeks of review and all-out debate among our editors, this year’s round-up comprises the most energizing influencers of our time. You’ll meet a pioneer of electric cars, a branding prophet, a major league all-star, and a Stanford dropout-turned-biotech virtuoso. Best of all, there’s more awesomeness where these came from. See them all here

This article was published in 7x7's October 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.

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